WASHINGTON (JTA) — Newly elected Florida Rep. Allen West withdrew a job offer to a Jewish talk show host who called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "garbage" and said Jewish Democrats "don’t embrace being Jewish."
West, who in the Nov. 2 elections ousted incumbent Ron Klein, a Democrat, from his Broward and Palm Beach counties area district, issued a statement Thursday expressing his "deep regret" that Joyce Kaufman would not work for him as his chief of staff.
"Joyce is a good friend, and will remain loyal to South Floridians and to me," West said. "I will always seek Joyce’s counsel for being a good Representative of this Congressional District."
Kaufman’s appointment drew controversy because of comments she made on her radio show likening Pelosi (D-Calif.) to "garbage" and saying Jews who voted for President Obama were denying their Judaism.
West, an Iraq War vet, campaigned in the heavily Jewish district by challenging Klein’s pro-Israel credentials, even though Klein had taken the lead on a number of pro-Israel issues in his two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
West drew Jewish fire when he called a Klein campaign videographer "Gestapo" for filming West campaign events — a routine practice. The videographer is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors.